After moving to the area from the suburbs of Chicago, Ryan Flynn came across a Facebook post advertising volunteer opportunities for the Union Hose Company of Annville, one of the two fire companies that make up the Annville-Cleona Fire Department. 

As a business owner, Ryan thought he could utilize his expertise to lend support to the fire company on the operational side of things, but after meeting with the chief and discussing the possibility of running calls, Ryan was intrigued.

“It sounded exciting and like a great way for me to give back and donate my time. Although I decided to join originally on the business side, I very quickly fell in love with the firefighting side,” said Ryan. “Volunteering is a good outlet, especially for someone like me that works from home and sits behind a desk most of the day. It allows me to use another part of my brain while impacting the community in a positive way.”

Two years later, Ryan is a certified interior firefighter and the fire company’s secretary. On top of running his own business, Ryan is married and the father of three children. 

“My kids think it is pretty neat that I am a firefighter. I don’t think I have ever seen them with smiles as big as they did when they saw me driving the fire engine for the first time,” said Ryan.

Ryan describes himself as someone constantly seeking knowledge. Joining the fire company enabled him to learn skills that have translated into other aspects of his life, as well as the opportunity to get to know his new community on a more intimate level.

“A big chunk of knowledge that I learned very quickly about our town and surrounding area was because I joined the fire department, and I don’t know how I would’ve learned that otherwise,” said Ryan.

There are plenty of benefits that he has reaped as a firefighter, but the best part about volunteering for Ryan is knowing that he is able to help someone on what could be the worst day of their life.

“Whether it’s a house fire or a bad accident, just being able to get your hands involved and act on it is the best part. Time is our most limited resource, so being able to devote my time to something I really care about and love has been really rewarding as well,” said Ryan.

The Annville-Cleona Fire Department is one of 21 fire companies included in the Capital Region Firefighter volunteer recruitment campaign. If you want to serve your community and make a difference, there’s likely a nearby fire company and a position for you based on your interest, skills and availability. All training and gear are provided at no cost.

To learn more about how you can volunteer with your local fire company, visit